Trainer Kathleen DeMasi is considering retirement and broodmare duty for her 7-year-old mare Joya Real, whose 10-for-30 record includes three stakes victories with career earnings of more than $450,000.
Everything Lovely is shaping up as a more-than-suitable replacement.
The 4-year-old Maryland-bred filly, owned by DeMasi’s Pewter Stable in partnership with Armand A. Delaperriere, turned in a crackerjack performance in today’s Lighting City Prep, scorching the Tampa Bay Downs turf course in 55.87 seconds for five furlongs to score a four-and-a-quarter length victory from Giddy Up.
A crowd of 4,010 attended as the 2016-2017 meeting resumed in 76-degree weather under partly cloudy skies. Total all-sources handle was $3,578,062.
In winning for the fifth time in 17 starts, but only the first time in six tries this year, Everything Lovely paid $4.80 as the wagering favorite. It was her first victory away from Parx Racing. Jose Ferrer rode the winner, who DeMasi says will be pointed to the $100,000 Lighting City Stakes on Dec. 17. Come to Mischief finished third in the 10-horse field.
Joya Real won the 2015 Lighting City Prep before finishing fourth in the Lightning City Stakes.
“It is like déjà vu, except hopefully if everything is good, we can win the Lightning City this year,” DeMasi said. “This is a fast filly. Unfortunately, most of the (turf) races for her are five-and-a-half furlongs and she always has to be encouraged to slow down (early), but she is quick.
“We just needed everything to fall into place like it did,” DeMasi said. “Jose did a great job. I said ‘Put her in the game, Jose, you know what we like,’ and there she goes. She ran so hard this year against Lady Shipman (a second-place finish in the Turf Amazon Stakes on Sept. 5) and some other horses, it didn’t seem fair that she hadn’t gotten a win this year.”
Ferrer made it sound as if he was little more than a speed-seeking passenger. “This is a push-button filly,” he said. “Kathy told me to be a little more aggressive with her on the backside and I was, and she completely took off. At the 3/8 pole, it was game over, and she finished really well.
“I’ve known Kathy for 20 years, and we have won a lot of races together,” Ferrer added.
Everything Lovely is by Pollard’s Vision out of Desiderata, by During.
In the Males Division of the first leg of the Tampa Turf Test starter handicap series, 5-year-old gelding Big Daddy B benefited from a well-judged ride by Eddie Dominguez to power past Tribal Message in deep stretch and post a shocking, length-and-a-half upset.
Big Daddy B, a New Jersey-bred who was making his first start on the Oldsmar grass course, won for only the third time in 30 starts. He is owned by Robert Reidy and trained by Pedro J. Sobarzo. He paid $77.80 to win, and the $2 exacta combination of 1-9 paid $1,057.60.
The winner’s time for the 1-mile distance was 1:36.08.
The Distaff Division of the Tampa Turf Test was a bit more formful, as 5-2 favorite Dreamofjean E. utilized her customary front-running style and drew away late for a three-length victory from Sequiota. The winning 5-year-old mare is now 10-for-23 with seven seconds. An Illinois-bred owned by Richard Ravin and Patricia’s Hope and trained by Larry Rivelli, Dreamofjean E. was ridden by 18-year-old Sebastian Saez.
Dreamofjean E. paid $7 to win. Her time was 1:36.49.
The second round of the Tampa Turf Test series is Jan. 7.
Upcoming events. Tampa Bay Downs will conduct Thoroughbred racing on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays throughout December, with the exception of Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. Wednesday’s nine-race card begins at 12:30 p.m.
The track kicks off its 2016-2017 stakes schedule on Saturday, Dec. 3 with a pair of $100,000, six-furlong sprint races for 2-year-olds. The Inaugural Stakes, for males, closed last week with 28 nominations, while the Sandpiper, for fillies, attracted 46 nominees.
Also on Dec. 3, the track will hold its annual “Breakfast at the Downs” from 8-10 a.m. under the Trackside Picnic Pavilion Tent. The cost is $8 and attendees receive a full breakfast buffet, Grandstand admission and a Tampa Bay Downs racing program while watching the morning workouts.
Jockeys and trainers will be on hand and there will be guest speakers. Tickets can be pre-purchased in the General Office.
Tampa Bay Downs is open every day except Christmas Day, Dec. 25, for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker action in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.